Dry vs. Wet sanding

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Forum topic by Evangogh posted 10-19-2014 02:41 AM 1850 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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129 posts in 1329 days

10-19-2014 02:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: wet sand dry

The more I dive into tutorial videos and such, I see and hear about more and more people wet sanding their work. What are the advantages? (It’s sanding with oil and NOT water, right?)

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!

9 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10396 posts in 3647 days

#1 posted 10-19-2014 02:54 AM


Are you talking about varnish? linseed, danish or tung oil?

View TheDane's profile


5423 posts in 3662 days

#2 posted 10-19-2014 03:03 AM

(It s sanding with oil and NOT water, right?)

Nope. I use water. You don’t have to soak the wood, just get it damp and make sure you are using sanding media that is appropriate for wet sanding.

Some people (e.g. Carl Jacobson) use a mixture of mineral oil and paste wax to wet sand and finish in one operation.

If you don’t subscribe to Carl’s videos I would suggest you do so … he has two very worthwhile YouTube video channels:

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Evangogh's profile


129 posts in 1329 days

#3 posted 10-19-2014 03:08 AM

Ohhhh! I DO subscribe to him! The Wood Whisperer and Woodwork for Mere Mortals too. I love all those videos. There is just so MUCH I guess I haven’t gotten around to those kinds of their videos yet. I’ve mainly focused on how the heck to do things before worrying about the end product as much :P

What do you prefer though? Are there any particular advantages to wet sanding?

-- Turn on, brothers and sisters!!!

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1888 days

#4 posted 10-19-2014 03:20 AM

I have in the past used Minwax tung oil. Let it dry GOOD.

Then start with 1000 grit paper and apply some beeswax and wet sand it in. I usually do too much, but hey, i love that silky smooth feel it gives.

Now i usually only use wax and wet sand it in. Gives a superb finish i think.

I’ve been using and loving howards feed-n-wax.

I think the only advantage is the feel. I do also feel like it imparts a certain sheen that looks impeccable. I also at times use 0000 steel wool too. Try it out. Wont hurt!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5659 posts in 2812 days

#5 posted 10-19-2014 06:33 AM

I only use wet sanding as a final step to smooth the final topcoat. After the lacquer dries, I spray water on the surface and wet sand it with a 1500 grit soft sanding sponge. Sand with the grain with a gentle hand.
It works great and you will see results comparable to waxing with steel wool, but without the mess.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4986 posts in 2492 days

#6 posted 10-19-2014 11:13 AM

I wet sand with all kinds of fluids, MS, water, danish oil, very thin varnish, and BLO. I use water and very fine grits (up to 2000 or so) to adjust the sheen of whatever is on the piece. I sand with wiping varnish, danish oil, and BLO when I am filling the pores (mostly on oak) for a glass smooth surface, this takes a much coarser grit; about 320 or so. If I have cured varnish that I want to level, I’ll use MS. Wet sanding (IMHO) doesn’t allow the paper to clog as quickly, and lubes the surface which seems to give a smoother cut from the paper. You do need a very flat rubber block for this, Klingspor sells them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Duckster's profile


358 posts in 1350 days

#7 posted 10-19-2014 02:55 PM

When I have let the lacquer dry for two weeks, (usually 8 or 9 coats) I use 2000 and 4000 grit soft pads with soap water. This levels and gets a smooth mirror finish. Then I use 4000 grit wax and polish to a blinding awesome finish.
By wet sanding, there is virtually no dust involved.
Hope this helps.

-- Duckster, Texas. {Any day of fishing, Beats a good day at work.} Wash your feet and love Jesus

View upinflames's profile


217 posts in 2161 days

#8 posted 10-19-2014 08:38 PM

The best way to learn what works best for you is to… with it….....sit down with some scrap, sand different grits, stain different colors, use different topcoats,(varnish, shellac, poly, lacquer, etc.). Any one can tell you ” I do it this way and that’s the way Gomer does it so it has to be right”. What works for some, may not work for others. I myself use a lot of 0000 steel wool and wax for “rubbin out a finish” . Just play with different ideas and don’t get stuck in a rut with only a couple of ways to finish a finish..

View Ron Ford's profile

Ron Ford

208 posts in 1731 days

#9 posted 10-23-2014 01:04 AM

The answers above all seem to be addressing wet sanding finishes, and they are all very good suggestions if that is what you are asking about.

I also find myself wet sanding when I am doing final turning on a piece and have issues with torn end grain (I know, if I was doing it properly there wouldn’t be torn end grain!). If that is your question, I generally use sanding sealer or water (not both) to raise the grain and allow it to be sanded smooth. Sanding sealer can be brushed on lightly and allowed to dry before turning. Water sprayed from a bottle works well and can be sanded right away.

Hope this helps.


-- Once in awhile I make something really great. Most days I just make sawdust.

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